Natitingou Benin West Africa
Monday, September 25, 2006

Rooting around in the encyclopedia for Somba, I came up with a term for the cuts or scars on the peoples faces. They call it Scarification, go figure;

- Scarification is the practice of cutting the skin and introducing irritants into the wound to produce a permanent scar. Although rarely practiced today, scarification has a long tradition in many African cultures, and these traditional markings continue to appear on carved statues and pottery figures. Most scars were made on the face, back, chest, or around the navel. Scarification could indicate status or ethnic affiliation, or it could offer protection against harmful spirits. For example, among the Somba people of Benin and Togo, in western Africa, scarification indicated a person’s stage in life. An individual received his or her first marks at the age of 14, signifying the transition from childhood to adulthood. -

It says above,
- Although rarely practiced today. -

I would have to disagree whole-heartedly with this one, I see it everywhere and anywhere, hard to photograph because the people are not too excited, but I have many already in the blog.

I believe this woman is Fon, she lived in a small village between Bassila and Natitingou Benin West Africa, most likely Fon, however never can be sure until lots of probing. However, I am 95 percent sure, the cheek a has a cut on it, the soldier that was sitting in the cattle car had one that went up his nose, over the bridge and down the other side.

Scars are easy to see, and numerous in small villages.

The type of cut helps to determine the village or tribe, language. I am being hopefully loose in this, it is not as distinct as maybe the Guatemala clothing, however it may be distinct with different groups, there is definite a problem separating them as the culture bleed together. The more common tribal affair is the now the Islamic versus the Catholic, and the dress and style of clothes is worn to distinguish on the too serious ones.



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